Acquired from the Cleveland Browns last week, Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon appeared somewhat close to suiting up for Sunday’s 26-10 loss to the Detroit Lions after a considerable pregame workout.
But Gordon was not active, and instead watched as Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s frustrations were on display as he completed just 14 of his 26 attempted passes and threw for a measly 133 yards. It was another loss in which Brady looked like a man without a real option at the wideout spot, too, as the Patriots dressed just three wideouts, and saw Phillip Dorsett miss all five of the targets thrown his way.
So, how close was Gordon to actually suiting up?
“It’s hard to put percentages on that,” Patriots offense coordinator Josh McDaniels said. “[Bill Belichick] makes those decisions. We’re going to prepare everybody to play and then whatever the active situation is on a week-to-week basis, that’s what we have and we try to do the best thing that we can with him.”
Unfortunately for those seeking clarity, Belichick provided more of the same, and offered an ‘I don’t know’ when asked how close the 27-year-old was to making his Patriots debut in Detroit.
But Belichick did make one thing clear: Gordon’s not playing until the team feels they’re putting him in the right spot to best succeed and make a real impact on New England’s stagnant offensive attack.
“We’ll just take it day-by-day and see how it goes,” Belichick remarked. “There are a number of factors involved here. When he feels like he’s ready and we feel like he’s ready and there’s sufficient opportunity to back that up then we’ll see about making him active.
“We just didn’t feel like we were at that point [Sunday].”
While things with the Patriots seem rather grim on the offensive side of the ball (especially when it comes to their wide receiving corps), it’s tough to actually think throwing Gordon into the mix after two practices was a sound idea. It’s even harder to agree with such an idea when considering the fact that Gordon, who arrived to the Patriots with a minor hamstring injury, was limited in both sessions.
“In terms of what he brings and his role and all that, I think that’s still to be determined here as we get closer and closer to him actually being able to be active,” McDaniels said when asked what Gordon can bring to the Patriot offense. “I think he’s learning. Look, it’s not easy to come in in the middle of the week and try to pick everything up immediately, guys coming from different systems.
“But, he’s doing a really good job of working hard at that and trying to get himself caught up so that he knows what to do when he’s out there and can do it at a dependable level. I think he’s really doing a good job of that, and then we’ll see as he progresses this week, if he gets any closer to being able to be active.”
The 6-foot-3 Gordon caught one pass for 17 yards and a touchdown in Cleveland’s Week 1 tie.